Reasons to choose Wilson Browne
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has had guidance in place since July 2015 for Professional and Public Authority Court of Protection Deputies to obtain the highest standard expected of them within their roles.
In February 2023, the OPG distributed updates to the Deputy standards with immediate effect. These apply to all who have been appointed as Deputy by the Court of Protection, including Professional and Lay Deputies, as well as Public Authorities.
These updated standards apply to both Property & Financial and Health & Welfare decisions.
It was thought that the existing standards didn’t significantly apply to Lay Deputies. The most substantial change is therefore that the standards have more guidance for Lay Deputies.
It is important to note that the updates are not new but built on what was already in place and remain aligned with the Mental Capacity Act 2005. They are ultimately there as a guide to the overall management of a Deputyship.
Who are Deputies?
Lay Deputies tend to be family members or friends of the person who is unable to make decisions for themselves, due to a lack of capacity. Lay Deputies cannot charge any fees for their service.
Where nobody is available or wants to act as Lay Deputy, the Court can appoint a Public Authority Deputy, also known as a Local Authority or Health Body. They can charge fixed rate fees for their service.
Professional Deputies are normally appointed if no family member/friend is available and/or willing to act as Deputy and are paid for their work. These are generally Solicitors, Accountants, or Financial Advisors, as there tends to be more complex matters to manage.
The standards are designed to guide Deputies in how to fulfil their responsibilities and reduce abuse of power.
The new standards:
The standards have been restructured into eight core parts with more guidance being provided. Each element comprises of‘core obligations’ and ‘best interests decision making.’
- Standard 1: Deputyship Obligations
- Standard 2: Best interest decision making.
- Standard 3: Interactions with P (the person who lacks capacity)
- Standard 4: Financial Management
- Standard 5: Financial record keeping.
- Standard 6: Property management
- Standard 7: Decisions related specifically to health and welfare.
- Standard 8: Additional obligations
These standards are in place as another method to safeguard P to ensure all decisions are made in their best interest.
All Deputies, Lay, Professional, and Public Authority, will now be supervised against the revised standards.
The OPG will assess these standards through an annual report review, completing assurance visits, and case reviews. A serious breach of the standards by any type of Deputy can lead to an investigation and potentially an application to the Court of Protection for the removal of the Deputy.
It is important to be aware of the standards and abide by them, always keeping in mind that the focal point is the best interest of P. Here at Wilson Browne Solicitors, we have a dedicated Court of Protection Team, with our head Vicki Pearce – who is a Partner, a Solicitor, and is appointed on the Panel of Professional Deputies.
We manage many Clients’ affairs who have lost capacity, under a Deputyship Order with our committed case handlers, always acting in their best interests.